I just recently delivered the 100th episode of the Bacon Podcast. That is an achievement and milestone I am very proud of. So far, there have been over 16,000 downloads (averaging around 1500 per month). I have also had almost 8,000 visits to the www.BaconPodcast.com website. This has been accomplished in less than a year. As a solopreneur, I am committed to generating great content while teaching concepts that keep people engaged.
Why have I continued to produce this content for the past year? I gathered feedback from analytics that said the content was being well received (the reviews on iTunes helped also). I have mentioned before that analytics is one of the cornerstones of online success. If you don't have feedback, it's hard to measure what is working and what is not. As Peter Drucker (or Tom Peters) said, “What gets measured gets done”.
Running a business without using a tool like QuickBooks is like trying to drive without a navigation system or a map (yes, people still use maps). Having any kind of website or online marketing without analytics is pretty much the same. It blows my mind how people leave that map (analytics) in the glove box (knowing that it's there, but never looking at it.)
What is Google Analytics
If you have a website, then you need to measure the traffic and actions taken on your website. Some people try to do this through server logs, but that data is very inconsistent and hard to read. I had one client who claimed that they were getting 26,000 visitors per month. After installing Google Analytics, we determined that the actual visitors equaled only 600 (a good number, but way less than expected).
Google Analytics is a free tool provided by Google to measure all the data about your website, traffic, users, devices (desktop, mobile, tablet), browsers, user locations and much, much more. Why does Google make this tool available to us for free? Because, it let's Google analyze your website, content and traffic, to create better AdWord data, which it can sell to customers. The payback to you is one of the most comprehensive web traffic tools available on the internet today.
Ever notice that Bing, Yahoo and other search engines don't offer that? This is why Google garners 80% of ALL website search traffic.
So, is it worth giving away your information? There are options like Clicky, KISSmetrics, CrazyEgg, Webtrends and others. Most are free with paid options. I work with over 100 Google Analytic accounts, and I find it is a great benchmark to compare different businesses in different industries.
5 Things You Need To Measure
There are hundreds of options for looking at data in Google Analytics, but the following are 5 things you should be looking at at least once per week. The most common view is the last 30 days of data. You should most definitely be measuring a day after you create and post new content to your website.
- Audience – Users vs. Sessions – Sessions are the number of times your website was visited. Users are unique people that come to the website, i.e. if you have 600 sessions and 300 visitors, that means that potentially those 300 people visited twice (or a third of them visited 3 times during that period).
- Audience – Mobile Overview – Google has put an emphasis on making sure your website is mobile ready. That is fairly easy with a Word Press website by changing your theme to a responsive design. Just that is enough to make you want to know how your audience is getting to your site. The BaconPodcast.com has 82% desktop, 12% mobile and 6% tablet (even though the podcast downloads are over 50% mobile – via my Blubrry podcast statistics).
- Acquisition – All Traffic – Referrals – This is where you can see which of your activities (social media and posting) is generating the best return on your time investment. There are many bots that muddy up the traffic (semalt.com, best-seo-software.xyz and others who try to hijack traffic from your websites), yet you can still see Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. If it shows 0-3 seconds, its probably spam, 20 seconds and up is usually a human, and that's what you want to measure.
- Behavior – Site Content – All Pages – Looking at behavior flow is great, but knowing how many times a page is visited let's you know where hidden opportunities may exist. The point was to add a call to action (join our list, free report, etc.) to your most visited pages to increase conversions.
- Conversions – Goals – Goals are good. It's best to measure your successes. Most of the time you measure a “Thank You” page after someone has signed up for your email or newsletter. You can also measure the success for your eCommerce website. If you have not yet set any goals, I suggest you start today. Getting people to your Contact page could be a measurable goal.
Just having analytics is not enough. You have to log in on a regular basis. You have to be consistent and dig deep into the tools that are at your fingertips. There are many hidden sub-menus and you need to click the data to dig deeper. You can mess it up once it's set up.
Also, make sure that you compare data from past periods to see trends. Make sure that you, and not a third party, control the account. If they go away, so does your history and data. The more you use analytics, the more you will learn about your marketing, audience and you will have the tools to reach your potential customers!
I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and feedback.